Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Alastair Graham admits burning dog to death at Fife tree

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court Image copyright Other
Image caption Sheriff James Williamson deferred sentence on Graham and Gourdie until next month for social work reports and a risk assessment

A man has admitted tying his friend's dog to a tree before dousing it in petrol and burning it to death in Fife.

Alastair Graham was looking after Bruno, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, for a friend when he snapped after the animal bit his finger.

He tied the animal to a tree in Kirkcaldy's Dunnikier Woods and initially attempted to slit its throat.

When he failed Graham went to a petrol station and filled up a jerry can before pouring it over the dog.

He then set the dog alight.

A sheriff told Graham the attack was a "grotesque act of savagery".

Still alive

The Animal Health and Welfare Act means Graham can only be jailed for a maximum of a year.

However he will face "years" in jail after he also admitted an attempted knife robbery carried out days after he killed Bruno.

Fiscal depute Susan Dickson told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court that a post-mortem on Bruno revealed he had still been alive when Graham had set him alight.

She said: "Footage from the BP petrol station showed the accused filling up a container with petrol on the day in question - a similar container was found melted beside the dog.

"A post mortem on the dog was carried out which revealed the burning was concentrated over the neck, head and thorax areas with the right side badly burnt to full thickness.

"There was a thick black deposit round the neck consistent with the harness - the metal parts were burnt on to the neck.

"There was inhalation of smoke in the dog's airways which indicates it was alive when it was set on fire.

"There was also a deep sharp puncture would and another sharp wound - neither of which were life threatening but would have caused pain."

Graham, 23, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to causing Bruno unnecessary suffering by causing his death in the fire on 24 or 25 April.

He further admitted an attempted knife robbery committed alongside Steven Gourdie, committed on 2 May at High Street, Leven.

Larry Flynn, defending Graham, said: "He has a vague recollection of doing this but was abusing alcohol at the time.

"His recollection is that he attempted to kill it with a knife but he failed and he went to get the petrol then returned."

Sheriff James Williamson deferred sentence on Graham and Gourdie until next month for social work reports and a risk assessment.

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